The Names Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which of the following characters does not actively search for the cult in the novel?

2. Who is the presumptive writer of Chapter 14?

3. What news does Ann Maitland give James when she has dinner with James in the beginning of Chapter 13?

4. What are James and Ann doing at the end of Chapter 13?

5. At the beginning of Chapter 8, James goes into a tavern to ask about what?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about Owen Brademas and his function thematically in the narrative. Based on first impressions from the opening chapters, what does Owen value above all else in life? What does he want to achieve? Discuss how these objectives drive Owen to seek out the cult, and how his skills make him the most effective of the searchers. Why does he become paralyzed by the prospect of meeting the cult? How does his experience with them leave him?

Essay Topic 2

The Names takes place in a place and time in which new and unknown dangers are emerging for expat Americans. The novel finds clever and unnerving ways to illustrate these dangers. Write an essay in three parts dealing with the way DeLillo illustrates danger and fear in the novel:

Part 1) Discuss the new international reality that is emerging for Americans in the early 1980's. What is the state of the Cold War at this time? What events have illustrated the new danger posed by religious extremism? To what extent is James Axton's profession the quintessential creation of American expat culture in this time?

Part 2) James Axton is clearly a character what sits at the tip of the spear for international danger. What dangers exist for him throughout the novel? Discuss ambiguous characters, messages, and events that strike him as dangerous? What violent moment serves as the culmination of this nascent danger, and who does James think is responsible for it?

Part 3) Discuss the subterranean actions that place James Axton's life in danger throughout the novel. How has James been an unwitting pawn of the intelligence community? What was hunting him throughout the novel? How does he discover the true nature of his work?

Essay Topic 3

In the latter half of The Names, James Axton develops several female entanglements that serve as temporary place-fillers for his lost family. Write an essay about these three: Janet Ruffing, Del Nearing, and Ann Maitland. How does Ruffing fulfill his sexual needs as a man? How does Nearing fulfill his paternal needs after the essential loss of Tap? Discuss, lastly, how Ann Maitland provides the most complete relationship for him. What are the defining attributes of this relationship? How does their final moment in the novel resonate as particularly significant?

(see the answer keys)

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